TMT in Mexico
Acedo, Santamarina, S.C
The five-strong team at boutique Acedo, Santamarina, S.C is led by the highly rated Andrés Acedo. Focusing on telecommunications and broadcast media, the outfit has an impressive list of loyal clients, such as the inflight internet company Gogo, which it advises on providing satellite internet services on board airplanes flying over the Mexican territory, and on the compliance of its regulatory obligations under its sole concession to operate a telecommunications network. In other matter, it continued to advise Bose from a regulatory standpoint regarding its products compliance with several Mexican regulations and on the launch of its online shopping platform; BBC Worldwide on the sale of its broadcasting rights; and Hertz on several telecommunications contractual and regulatory issues, as well as on certain procedures carried out before the Federal Institute of Telecommunications related to radio-frequency bands. Associates José Luis Mejía Estrada and Enrique López Mendez are other names to note, while Juan Fernando Espinoza left the firm. Other clients include Amazon, QMC Telecomm, IDT Telecomm, Nokia, GoPro, and Gulf Waters.
‘Super specialised’ Bello, Gallardo, Bonequi y García, S.C. is valued by clients for its ‘responsiveness and personal attention, clarity of presentation, business involvement, and very pragmatic approach’. Moreover, the lawyers have ‘deep knowledge regarding the regulatory environment in Mexico and a good relationship with the authorities, allowing them to provide excellent advice’. Twelve dedicated practitioners handle TMT and data protection matters, with recent highlights including advising Tele Facil on regulatory and litigation matters related to a $500m interconnection dispute with Telmex; and successfully representing pharmaceutical company Uquifa in a constitutional action against a procedure initiated by the Federal Telecommunications Institute (FTI) in relation to telecoms matters. The practice also provides ongoing legal and regulatory advice to a number of telecommunications operators, amongst them CenturyLink, which recently instructed the firm on a major corporate and licence restructuring, including the transition from a public telecommunications network concession to a sole concession under the recent Federal Telecommunications and Broadcasting Law. Carlos Bello, Hector Guzman, and Rolando Guevara co-head the team. The ‘terrific and very responsive' Bello is ‘an expert in TMT law in Mexico, but he also understands his clients' practical business needs’. Guzman handles data protection issues, dividing his time between Madrid and Mexico City. Senior associate Carlos Diaz is a ‘meticulous lawyer with broad experience. You can always be sure that his advice will be accurate and innovative’. Federico de Palacio is another name to note. Other clients include Bytedance, Echostar Corporation, Ericsson, Wavy, T-Systems, Cisco, ACN (Flashmobile), Indeed, Altán Redes, and IG Networks Mexico.
Fourteen lawyers deal with TMT matters at Baker McKenzie Abogados, S.C., advising an impressive roster of clients on business process outsourcing; IT sourcing and transactions, litigation and regulation; privacy and data protection; social and other media; and telecommunications. In highlight work, the firm was instructed by Airbnb on legal and regulatory matters regarding its expansion throughout Latin America, with the Mexico City office coordinating teams in the Caribbean, Central and South America; Estée Lauder instructed the team on numerous privacy aspects related to the deployment of artificial intelligence solutions in the personal beauty products industry, principally from the privacy and healthcare law standpoints; and the practice advised events organiser Corporación Interamericana de Entretenimiento (CIE) on all telecommunications regulatory aspects for the Formula 1 and World Endurance Championship races in Mexico. Other clients include DiDi Chuxing, Facebook, Twitter, and AT&T Services. Following the departure of former practice co-head Sergio Legorreta, Carlos Vela-Treviño, and Carlos Valencia jointly lead the team; Christian Lopez (who heads the pharmaceuticals and life sciences industry group), and Tatiana Escribano (who handles corporate and M&A matters), are additional key practitioners. Further support comes from associates and IP specialists Daniel Villanueva and Juan Carlos Tornel, in Guadalajara and Mexico City, respectively. However, in a surprise move, Sergio Legorreta moved to Dentons López Velarde to head up the firm's regional IP, TMT and venture-tech groups in December 2019.
At Hogan Lovells the lawyers ‘listen very carefully and help us define our needs, enabling us and them to focus our time in the most productive way’ says one client. The small team of three practitioners focuses on regulatory telecommunications matters, while also providing advice on media, technology and data privacy issues, drawing on the firm’s international network. From July 2017 to September 2018 the firm was selected by the Federal Telecommunications Institute (FTI) to act as an external auditor (jointly with two other consultants) with the purpose of verifying compliance with the obligations governing the market’s dominant agent in accordance with the Constitutional telecommunications reforms and the Federal Law on Telecommunications and Broadcasting (2014). In other notable work, the team assisted Columbus Networks obtain a telecoms concession permitting expansion of the client’s network in Mexico; successfully represented nonprofit association Telecomunicaciones Indígenas Comunitarias (TIC), (which provides telecommunications services to marginalised indigenous communities), in an amparo proceeding before the FTI requesting an exemption on payment of fees for the use and exploitation of the radio-electric spectrum; and assisted Omnispace Mexico with a proposal presented to the FTI bidding for 40 MHz of the 2000-2020/2180-2200 MHz frequency bands. Federico Hernández Arroyo heads the practice; he is ‘immensely knowledgeable in telecommunications; able to marshal resources; clear in communications; a pleasure to work with; and a good negotiator’. Support comes from associate David Amado Monroy. Former senior associate Rodrigo Méndez Solis left the firm in October 2018 to become corporate counsel at Amazon. Other clients include American Tower Corporation and RedConcero.
The ‘excellent’ practice at Holland & Knight has ‘expertise in telecommunications matters and it offers tailor-made solutions for the client’. A well-known figure in the telecoms sector, Luis Rubio Barnetche -whose practice includes corporate and M&A and international trade and customs- ‘has developed a unique knowledge of TMT matters’; ‘is customer-oriented, fully available and very good at networking’; he heads-up the ‘very client-focused’ team and vry much sets its style and culture, according to clients. The practice covers all areas of TMT, including telecommunications, satellites, media, wireless services, quadruple play, e-commerce and cloud services and communications, advising on transactions, disputes, and antitrust and regulatory matters. In highlight work the team acted for longstanding client Eutelsat (through its subsidiary Satmex) in an investment arbitration proceeding against the Mexican government before the International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID) for breach of several provisions under the Mexico-France Bilateral Investment Treaty (BIT); it is also advising government entity Telecomunicaciones de Mexico regarding the Red Troncal (a project born out of the 2013 Constitutional Reform in the telecoms sector) on several aspects, including an FTI review of the bidding rules from a regulatory and antitrust perspective and accompaniment with the PPP bidding procedure. It also assisted another key, longstanding client, Telefónica regarding the 2.5 GHz auction carried out by the Mexican telecommunications regulator and in which the client was awarded two spectrum blocks with nationwide coverage. Working alongside Rubio Bartneche are practice co-head Octavio Lecona, who also handles corporate and M&A mandates; and senior counsel Blanca Luevano. Other clients include American Tower Corporation, McAllen Data Center, Maxcom Telecomunicaciones, and Arkadin Mexico.
Ismael Reyes Retana Tello leads the 9-strong practice at White & Case S.C., which boasts some high-profile clients and expertise in telecommunications litigation, transactional, regulatory, infrastructure, and finance matters, as well as strength in the satellite sector. The team continued to assist key clients Telefónica, in a case challenging resolutions issued by the FTI linked to interconnection tariffs between the client and other telecommunications operators; and Televisa, on several legal and regulatory matters, including in relation to the repercussions of new legislation in the sector, the client’s legal strategy for new business, and disputes. In another highlight mandate the practice is representing Sky in contentious proceedings before the federal courts and the Supreme Court against a ruling issued by the FTI declaring that the broadcaster holds market power in the pay-tv sector, which could potentially lead to the company’s breakup. Alongside Reyes Retana, others names to note are Antonio Cárdenas and associates Yuriria Galicia Arizmendi and Fernando García Gómez. Other clients include Altán Redes, Goldman Sachs, Innova, MXT Towers, and ViaSat.
Corporate powerhouse Creel, García-Cuéllar, Aiza y Enríquez, S.C. has branched out into TMT and is now retained by an increasingly impressive client list. The 12-strong practice is primarily involved with the regulatory aspects of high-end transactions which have a TMT aspect, although it does also cover transactions as a whole in the TMT sector, as well as corporate matters, disputes, and representation before regulators. In highlight work, the team acted as local counsel to Comcast in its attempted hostile takeover of 21st Century Fox, handling the antitrust filing, the regulatory assessment and advice on the telecommunications aspects of the parties’ activities in Mexico; advised LogMeIn on the Mexican telecommunications law and consumer protection regulatory aspects, along with due diligence, of its $342m acquisition of over-the-top (OTT) VoIP and IP conferencing service provider Jive Communications’ Mexican business; and assisted Wirecard with the regulatory aspects of the establishment in Mexico of its global payment solutions system (including processing platforms, payments technologies, mobile card acceptance services and point of sale innovation services), as well as telecom regulations for hardware and devices connected to public networks. The practice is co-lead by Luis Gerardo García (who also specialises in antitrust and competition) and Jean Michel Enriquez (whose practice also includes M&A, private equity and capital markets); other team members are Begoña Cancino (who specialises in intellectual property, data privacy, and regulatory and administrative litigation), Iker Arriola (corporate and M&A, banking and finance, capital markets and competition), and the very active senior associate Jorge Kargl (who also handles competition and antitrust). Other clients include AT&T, Warner Bros., Ufinet, HBO, CommScope, PayPal, Navitime, ARRIS Group, Blackstone, DAZN, and Macquarie.
González Calvillo, SC has a ‘wide practice in many areas’ and ‘courteous’ lawyers with ‘solid academic and professional backgrounds’ advising clients on ‘complex situations’. The firm boasts some major telecommunications clients, such as Telefónica, which is instructing the team in a Supreme Court constitutional relief proceeding (amparo) filed against a federal law provision differentiating between tariffs for the 800Mhz and 700Mhz radio frequencies, respectively. The team also represented Telefónica and Maxcom in constitutional procedures before the Supreme Court challenging the fines imposed by the FTI for alleged infringements to the Federal Telecommunications and Broadcasting Law, reducing the fine from 1% of income to 0.01%. Beyond its sweet spot in contentious administrative telecoms matters, it handles regulatory, antitrust, corporate, transactional, and tax matters, as well as public procurement and PPPs, concessions and authorisations relevant to telecommunication services, and data and consumer protection. An expert in administrative litigation, amparos, telecommunication disputes and constitutional controversy procedures, Luis Mancera co-leads the team with counsel Juan Carlos Peraza, who also focuses on these market segments; Peraza was previously director of regulation and litigation at Televisa, while Mancera was general chief tax prosecutor and deputy general counsel at the Ministry of Finance, as well as vice-president of legal and regulatory affairs at Televisa. Key support comes from associate Rafael Fuentes. Metro Net is another of the firm’s clients.
Despite having suffered the loss of its core TMT team in 2017, Jones Day has managed to maintain an even keel, retaining clients and providing advice on some sophisticated work. The small practice of two lawyers focuses on satellite, technology, telecommunications, internet and e-commerce, handling transactional, financing and regulatory matters. It assisted a leading client operating in the border checkpoint technology industry on a public procurement project; and it continued to advise Reebok de México / Adidas de México on the implementation and operation of its e-commerce platform in the country, including contracting matters, data protection, economic competition, and consumer protection aspects. The practice is headed by Bertha Alicia Ordaz-Avilés.
Clients value Nader, Hayaux y Goebel, SC because the lawyers ‘take the time to get to know their clients' sector and, with a regulatory approach, express their opinions’. Seven lawyers have TMT expertise at the heavyweight corporate firm, covering regulatory matters and corporate and finance transactions, across the telecommunications and broadcasting sectors, including satellite and fintech. Unsurprisingly, the team boasts notable clients, such as key client Eutelsat, which continued to instruct the firm on corporate, regulatory and transactional matters (including on corporate reorganisation affairs and capitalisation issues), as well as related licensing matters; and Altán Redes, which the team advised on the $50m cross-border financing for the Red Compartida Project, granted by Corporación Andina de Fomento. In other work, it assisted Austria-based global IT service provider, Comparex with its acquisition by SoftwareONE, from Raiffeisen Informatik. Julián Garza and Michell Nader co-head the practice; Garza is ‘always innovating and adapting to the clients’ environment’; Gunter Schwandt is another key practitioner. Other clients include Telefónica, Telefónica Movistar México, Grupo Salinas, and TV Azteca.
Galicia Abogados S.C. offers ‘excellent service’ with ‘availability and engagement’. The team is part of the wider regulatory practice group of 16 lawyers who in the telecommunications sector handle day-to-day and transactional work, as well as administrative disputes; and in technology, regulatory, competition, privacy, tax and intellectual property matters, as well as fintech and transactions. Examples of recent work include ongoing advice to key client AT&T on several matters including on the defence of certain data protection actions before the Mexican privacy regulator and federal courts, and on compliance and permitting matters relating to its network operations. Iy also represented Cementos Apasco in its regulatory regularisation before the FTI, namely in terms compliance and permitting matters relating to the client’s network in Mexico, specifically the radio-electrical spectrum used internally by the company. The practice is led by Carlos Chávez, whose expertise includes competition and antitrust; support comes from associates Maite Celorio and Gilda Velázquez.
Twelve lawyers at Mijares, Angoitia, Cortés y Fuentes S.C. handle transactional and competition matters for TMT clients and investors in the sector. In a case in point, recent work for the team included assisting Televisa with the execution of its $750m senior notes issue on the Luxembourg Stock Exchange. Ricardo Maldonado, Pilar Mata Fernández, Patricio Trad, Francisco Fuentes Ostos and Eugenio Macouzet are the key partners for TMT work, while senior associate Carlos Orcí also has broad experience in the sector, assisting clients in proceedings before the IFT and the Transport and Communications Ministry. Since publication, Orsí has been elevated to the partnership, effective April 2020.
Robles Miaja, SC
Robles Miaja, SC’s founding partner Rafael Robles has considerable standing in the market by virtue of his being the longstanding legal counsel of choice of Carlos Slim, owner of Grupo Carso whose holdings include Telmex, Telcel and América Móvil, with one peer even nominating Robles as ‘the best telecoms lawyer; he has been here since the beginning’. The finance boutique primarily handles high-end, sophisticated transactional, contentious and regulatory work in the sector.
At the full-service Santamarina y Steta, a small team advises on transactional and regulatory TMT-related work. Leading the team is Jorge León-Orantes, who specialises in telecommunications, media and technology, e-commerce and privacy and data protection, as well as in corporate governance; he is supported by senior associate Paola Vargas, who has additional expertise in the aerospace and satellite segments.
Soria Abogados, S.C.
Tech-specialist boutique firm Soria Abogados, S.C. is highly regarded by peers for its regulatory work. Founding partner Gerardo Soria is a longstanding presence in the market, his firm having emerged out of the former Lopez Velarde, Heftye y Soria (LVHS) when the latter decided to merge with Dentons in 2016. Three other lawyers work with Soria, focusing on the technology and transportation sectors and associated litigation.